Police blues: These are the best officers Pittsburgh can find?

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Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. That's how we're feeling about recent promotions in the city police bureau.

When Chief Nate Harper said he would promote to commander an officer who twice faced accusations of roughness, our view was tempered by the passage of 10 years without further incidents and the opinion of many that George Trosky was a changed man.

Then we learned that two of the three other officers promoted at the same time last week had recent domestic run-ins.

Charles Rodriguez, elevated from sergeant to lieutenant, faces a hearing next month on charges he assaulted his 14-year-old daughter. Eugene F. Hlavac, who was promoted to sergeant, twice was involved in arguments with his girlfriend that were loud enough to trigger police involvement.

Three out of the four officers given higher ranks last week have been involved in domestic incidents that resulted in police being called? Is anybody in command paying attention?

Certainly not Deputy Police Chief Paul Donaldson. In cavalier comments the day of the promotions he dismissed the concerns and clearly resented questions about the men. A few days later, he acknowledged the public's right to raise them but then refused to give out information on the prevalence of domestic abuse issues among his officers.

Is Mayor Luke Ravenstahl listening to any of this? He appointed Chief Nate Harper, who selected all of the officers for promotion. The mayor has offered no answers other than a blanket endorsement of Chief Harper's choices.

Chief Donaldson has asked the public to give the officers a chance.

We're asking him to give us a break.


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